Ruling party backs President-nominated candidates for National Bank Council to “prevent sabotage”

  • The Parliament on Thursday elected two new members in NBG Council with 84 and 82 votes. Photo: Parliament press office, 21 Sep 2023 - 15:52, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Parliament of Georgia on Thursday elected two members of the country’s National Bank Council who had previously been nominated by President Salome Zourabichvili, with the ruling Georgian Dream party saying it had backed the nominees to “avoid a sabotage” of the institution by the President and the “radical wing” of the domestic opposition. 

In his comments on Thursday, Irakli Kobakhidze, the GD head, said the President had attempted to recall her candidates before the vote, and added the Council would have remained “dysfunctional” without the new members by the end of this year. Zourabichvili was subsequently refused the right to recall the nominated new members.

The Council is composed of nine members and is capable of fulfilling its duties with at least five members. The body would have been left without the necessary numbers if the legislative body failed to elect new members following the resignation of three Vice Presidents from the NBG after the Bank’s Acting President Natia Turnava on Tuesday signed a decree that exempted Georgian citizens from international sanctions without judgment of domestic courts.

The decree came after the United States Department of State sanctioned Otar Partskhaladze, a former Prosecutor General of Georgia, last week for alleged ties with Russian intelligence. 

President Zourabichvili’s Parliamentary Secretary confirmed on Thursday she had made an attempt to recall her candidates until the Bank annulled the controversial decree on exempting citizens of Georgia from sanctions. Kobakhidze claimed the attempt was a “deliberate move” made “in alliance” with “radical opposition groups” to “sabotage and hamper activities” of the key institution. 

He also said the ruling party’s proposed amendments earlier this year - which introduced the position of the Bank’s Acting President but was criticised by the President - had been “proved correct” as the resignation of the three Vice Presidents would have created “serious problems” without the introduced position. 

Kobakhidze claimed the NBG decree had “ensured constitutional rights of all citizens of Georgia”, and added the opposition’s plans to “use the topic of Partskhaladze to spark unrest” in the country had “failed”.